NOFO: Integrative Forest Management for Multiple Ecosystem Services & Enhanced Biodiversity

Deadline: 28-Mar-23 The European Commission (EC) is offering grants to support the Integrative Forest Management for Multiple Ecosystem Services and Enhanced Biodiversity under the Horizon Europe…

NOFO: Integrative Forest Management for Multiple Ecosystem Services & Enhanced Biodiversity

Deadline: 28-Mar-23
The European Commission (EC) is offering grants to support the Integrative Forest Management for Multiple Ecosystem Services and Enhanced Biodiversity under the Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON).


This topic addresses integrative forest management strategies that optimise actively managed forest ecosystems in such a way that the ecological and socio-economic functions are sustainable and economic viable.
The aim is to achieve a better understanding how integrative forest management concepts (e.g. close-to-nature forestry, continuous cover forestry, retention forestry, etc.) are currently applied in Europe, their implications on the environment and biodiversity, society, and forest-based economy as well as to accelerate the implementation of innovative approaches through targeted and evidence-based guidelines and tools.
Proposals should:

Provide an in-depth analysis of current concepts and principles of integrative forest conservation, management and utilisation strategies and assess their socio-economic and ecological impacts;
Establish a network of living labs for integrative forest conservation, management and utilisation approaches inspired by best practices and covering different socio-cultural and bio-geographical conditions;
Develop applicable evidence-based guidelines and tools for the upscaling of integrative forest conservation, management and utilisation approaches;
Consider a strong stakeholder involvement and supportive policies;
Support exchange of knowledge, dialogue and good practices among stakeholders and institutions, including science-based dialogues.

The project must implement the multi-actor approach and ensure an adequate involvement of the primary production sector and the wider forest-based value chain.
Due to the scope of this topic, international cooperation is strongly encouraged, in particular with China. This topic is within the scope of the Administrative Arrangement between the European Commission and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China on a Co-funding Mechanism for the period 2021-2024 to support collaborative research projects under the Food, Agriculture and Biotechnologies (FAB) and the Climate Change and Biodiversity (CCB) flagship initiatives.
Actions will contribute to implementing the EU-China Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology (FAB) flagship initiative, which aims to ensure sustainability of agri-food systems, catering for the needs of a growing population, the reduction of food and agricultural losses and waste, and the provision of safe and healthy foodstuffs. Interaction with other actions developed under the EU-China Climate Change and Biodiversity (CCB) Research Flagship and the Flagship on Food, Agriculture and Biotechnologies (FAB) is encouraged if relevant.
JRC is available for sharing and taking up results and findings on the monitoring of the forest ecosystem multifunctionality in the EU Observatory for Deforestation, Forest Degradation and Associated Drivers and JRC Big Data Analytics Platform.

Funding Information
The check will normally be done for the coordinator if the requested grant amount is equal to or greater than EUR 500 000, except for:

public bodies (entities established as a public body under national law, including local, regional or national authorities) or international organisations; and
cases where the individual requested grant amount is not more than EUR 60 000 (lowvalue grant).

Expected Outcome

In line with the European Green Deal, EU climate policy, and the EU forest and biodiversity strategies, this topic promotes research-based and evidence-based forest conservation and management approaches that apply an understanding of the structure, function, and dynamics of natural and sustainably managed forest ecosystems to achieve integrated environmental, economic, and social outcomes.
Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:

Intensive collaboration, mutual learning and sharing of knowledge among the conservation and forestry bodies, forest managers, research institutions and other interested stakeholders to exploit synergies and minimise trade-offs in forest management.
Contribution to the development of computer models to be used as operational tools for examining the effects of climatic change on forest functioning.
Practical recommendations and guidelines addressing multiple, possibly conflicting objectives of forest management, to promote forest conservation and resilience and mitigate the impacts of various forest disturbances, while supporting the socio-economic goals of forests through the support of an efficient utilisation of forest resources and services.
Contribution to the achievement of EU forest related policy targets (biodiversity, bioeconomy, climate mitigation and adaptation).
Diversification of forest management methods and their mutual balance and appropriate use in the given context ('context-dependent integrative forest management') through the combination of different scientific disciplines, strong involvement of practitioners, researchers and advisors, biodiversity monitoring systems based on expert taxonomic knowledge combined with technologies, decision support tools and sustainability indicators. Application of context-dependent and site-appropriate, multi-stakeholder participatory and interdisciplinary methods.
Enhanced knowledge on ecological forestry practices and their impacts on climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation/restoration.

Expected Impact

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway resulting in the strategic plan having the following impact: 'Biodiversity is back on a path to recovery, and ecosystems and their services are preserved and sustainably restored on land, inland water and at sea through improved knowledge and innovation'. More specifically, one or more of the following impacts should materialise:

Direct drivers of biodiversity decline will be understood and addressed – land and sea use change, natural resource use and exploitation, climate change, pollution, invasive alien species – as well as indirect drivers – demographic, socio-economic, technological, etc.
Protected areas and their networks will be planned, managed and expanded and the status of species and habitats will be improved based on up-to-date knowledge and solutions.
Biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural capital will be mainstreamed in the society and economy: e.g. they will be integrated into public and business decision-making; approaches for enabling transformative changes to tackle societal challenges will be built including by deploying nature-based solutions (NBS).
Practices in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture will be developed and improved to support and make sustainable the use of biodiversity and a wide range of ecosystems services.
Biodiversity research and support policies and processes will be interconnected at EU and global levels, making use of advanced digital technologies and societal engagement where appropriate.
The biodiversity and health nexus will be understood, in particular at the level of ecosystems. This will be achieved by using the one-health approach, in the context of climate change and globalisation and by addressing contributions and trade-offs.

The impacts have been revised compared with the 2021-2022 work programme in order to take into account R&I activities included in the 2021-2024 strategic plan, but that are yet to be addressed. This was the case, for instance, for several direct drivers of biodiversity loss. The new drafting of the impacts makes clear that they are within the scope of the work programme.

Eligible Activities

Eligible activities are the ones described in the call conditions. Applications will only be considered eligible if their content corresponds, wholly or in part, to the topic description for which it is submitted.
Projects must focus exclusively on civil applications and must not:

aim at human cloning for reproductive purposes;
intend to modify the genetic heritage of human beings which could make such changes heritable (except for research relating to cancer treatment of the gonads, which may be financed);
intend to create human embryos solely for the purpose of research, or for the purpose of stem cell procurement, including by means of somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Projects must, moreover, comply with EU policy interests and priorities (environment, social, security, industrial policy, etc.).
The following activities are generally eligible for grants under Horizon Europe:

Research and innovation actions (RIA) — Activities that aim primarily to establish new knowledge or to explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service or solution. This may include basic and applied research, technology development and integration, testing, demonstration and validation of a small-scale prototype in a laboratory or simulated environment.
Innovation actions (IA) — Activities that aim directly to produce plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services. These activities may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation and market replication.
Coordination and support actions (CSA) — Activities that contribute to the objectives of Horizon Europe. This excludes research and innovation (R&I) activities, except those carried out under the ‘Widening participation and spreading excellence' component of the programme.
Programme co-fund actions (CoFund) — A programme of activities established or implemented by legal entities managing or funding R&I programmes, other than EU funding bodies. Such a programme of activities may support: networking and coordination; research; innovation; pilot actions; innovation and market deployment; training and mobility; awareness raising and communication; and dissemination and exploitation.
Innovation and market deployment actions (IMDA) — Activities that embed an innovation action and other activities necessary to deploy an innovation on the market. This includes the scaling-up of companies and Horizon Europe blended finance.
Training and mobility actions (TMA) — Activities that aim to improve the skills, knowledge and career prospects of researchers, based on mobility between countries and, if relevant, between sectors or disciplines.
Pre-commercial procurement actions (PCP) — Activities that aim to help a transnational buyers' group to strengthen the public procurement of research, development, validation and, possibly, the first deployment of new solutions that can significantly improve quality and efficiency in areas of public interest, while opening market opportunities for industry and researchers active in Europe. Eligible activities include the preparation, management and follow-up, under the coordination of a lead procurer, of one joint PCP and additional activities to embed the PCP into a wider set of demand-side activities.
Public procurement of innovative solutions actions (PPI) — Activities that aim to strengthen the ability of a transnational buyers' group to deploy innovative solutions early by overcoming the fragmentation of demand for such solutions and sharing the risks and costs of acting as early adopters, while opening market opportunities for industry. Eligible activities include preparing and implementing, under the coordination of a lead procurer, one joint or several coordinated PPI by the buyers' group and additional activities to embed the PPI into a wider set of demand-side activities.

Eligibility Criteria

Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity' means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
Beneficiaries and affiliated entities must register in the Participant Register before submitting their application, in order to get a participant identification code (PIC) and be validated by the Central Validation Service before signing the grant agreement. For the validation, they will be asked to upload the necessary documents showing their legal status and origin during the grant preparation stage. A validated PIC is not a prerequisite for submitting an application.
Specific Cases

Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU's financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.

To become a beneficiary, legal entities must be eligible for funding.
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:

the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States: Aruba (NL), Bonaire (NL), Curação (NL), French Polynesia (FR), French Southern and Antarctic Territories (FR), Greenland (DK), New Caledonia (FR), Saba (NL), Saint Barthélemy (FR), Sint Eustatius (NL), Sint Maarten (NL), St. Pierre and Miquelon (FR), Wallis and Futuna Islands (FR).
countries associated to Horizon Europe; Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine.

For more information, visit EC.